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The homecoming of Samuel Lake : a novel (edition 2011)

by Jenny Wingfield

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3818928,289 (4.13)1 / 29
Member:sjmccreary
Title:The homecoming of Samuel Lake : a novel
Authors:Jenny Wingfield
Info:New York : Dial Press, 2011.
Collections:Wishlist, Odds Are
Rating:
Tags:tloeffler, fiction

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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel by Jenny Wingfield

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English (90)  Dutch (1)  All languages (91)
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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake – Jenny Wingfield
4 stars
Chapter 1. Columbia County, Arkansas. 1956. Samuel Lake, sometime Methodist preacher, has come home with his family for a reunion. Family reunions are a great place to meet the characters. Family reunions are a good place to tell the back story. This family reunion is the inevitable setting for the first family tragedy from which all the pieces begin to fall.

Samuel, his wife, Willadee, and his three children take up temporary residence with Willadee’s very recently widowed mother. Of the three children, two boys and a girl, the standout is definitely Swan. Swan Lake. Swan and her brothers become attached to their Uncle Toy, a traumatized, partial amputee veteran of WW2. No one becomes attached to Toy’s narcissistic wife, Bernice. The Moses family home is divided between two businesses, a gas and grocery store on one side and a bar called Never Closes on the other. Most of the colorful characters of the little town pass through at one time or another. Enter the villain of the piece, Ras Ballenger and his much abused son, Blade.

This story is reminiscent of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.Similar, but by no means a pale copy. Swan Lake rivals Falvia DeLuce in imagination and could stand up for justice with Scout and Atticus. All of Wingfield’s characters have their own depth and complexity. The action is suspenseful with just the right mix of humor to lighten the stress. A warning to sensitive readers: the story does include animal and child abuse. It hurt me to read it, but I did not feel it was overly graphic. The ending is sad, and hopeful, and exactly right.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is the kind of book that will stay with me a long time. The characters are so realistic and likable that I had to stop reading the book before bed because when bad things happened to the characters it upset me so much that I couldn't sleep. Not many books are this powerful. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
my book club loved this book! I am copying Library Journal's review: "This novel touches on many genres,- family life, Christian fiction, coming-of-age and suspense, readers will love it!" yes!! read it! ( )
  amanaceerdh | Jun 23, 2015 |
This was heartwarming story of a preacher Samuel Lake and his family. I really loved this story. It was just good. I don't know how else to describe it. It made me laugh, it had me on the edge of my seat, it broke my heart. The characters were good and I fell in love with them. Samuel is a Methodist preacher with a heart for the poor and the sinners. His congregation suddenly decide they no longer have a place for him so he moves in with his wife's mother. Samuel struggles to get a job, he struggles with where God wants him. So much happens in this 352 pages. It is worth the read.

Favorite quote: Besides once you start picking holes in things, it's hard to figure our which parts to throw away and which parts to keep. ( )
  bwhitner | Mar 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I did not find this book as wonderful as others have, it was well written but I could not stay interested in it. The characters were strange and I did not find them endearing. There was much more darkness than I was expecting based on the descriptions of the book I had heard. Overall, I found it to be a depressing book.

I received a copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program. ( )
  Jamilyn | Jan 21, 2014 |
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Book description
A bewitching debut novel in the vein of the much-loved classic Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. It's 1956 and Samuel Lake, a handsome preacher, is voted out of his ministry by yet another congregation, disappointed by his relentless pleas for them to live more charitable lives. Out of options and out of pocket, Samuel and his family are forced to move in with their Arkansas in-laws, the rambunctious Moses clan. At first they thrive in the unruly sea of relatives -- Willa, Samuel's wife, runs the bar for Grandma Calla, while the boys, Noble and Bienville, run riot through the surrounding countryside. But when Swan, their formidable but loveable 11-year-old tomboy, crosses the path of neighbour Raz Ballenger, things take a turn for the worse. Raz Ballenger, horse trainer, is a man who rules both his family and his animals through terror. Used to instant obedience, he is insulted when Swan leaps to his son's defence, an act that sets a whole chain of unexpected and terrible events into motion!
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The rigid moral codes held by mid-twentieth-century preacher Samuel Lake are called into question when his twelve-year-old daughter and his neighbors hide a young boy from his abusive father, a man who lashes out at the community when he learns about thedeception.… (more)

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